Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

He who wants to plant corn must make peace with the crows. -African Proverb

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

African Clay Oil Lamp Tutorial

Clay oil lamps in Africa are used for utilitarian, ritualistic, and symbolic purposes.


Some of the earliest lamps were stones with depressions in which animal fats were likely burned as a source of light.
Clay oil lamp
In Africa for millions of years, people captured naturally occurring fire, tended it, and preserved it for long periods. A fire is important not only for warmth and for cooking, but for light. Currently, nearly 662 million Africans lack access to electricity. Throughout Africa, only 43% of urban and rural households have access to reliable electricity.

It is very hard to do anything once the daylight is gone. Some of the earliest lamps were stones with depressions in which animal fats were likely burned as a source of light. Shells, such as conch or oyster, were also used as lamps. Manufactured lamps are not always cost effective and readily available. Many households use simple molds or hand forming techniques to make clay lamps.

Clay Oil Lamp Tutorial


Materials:
• Waterproof air-dry clay, the amount depends on the size of your lamp
• 100% cotton fabric for wick, 4 inches wide, and the length depends on the size of your lamp
• Olive oil enough to fill the lamp
• Scissors

Directions:
Throughout Africa, only 43% of urban and rural households have access to reliable electricity.
Reading by candle light
Olive oil lamps are simple to make and nearly any shape can be used, as long as it holds oil without leaking or spilling and has a spout and a filling hole. Once your lamp is shaped to your liking, follow directions on the clay package to cure and harden it. 

The simplest shape is a saucer lamp. Raised edges hold the oil, and a single depression in the rim forms the wick spout. Cut a piece of cotton cloth 3/4” wide and the exact length depends on the size of your lamp. Braid or twist the cloth in a tightly spiraled wick. Fill the lamp with olive oil.

Insert the wick into the lamp’s spout positioning the wick so it extends from the bottom of the oil lamp to approximately 1/2” above the spout. Trim the excess if any with scissors. Be sure the wick is saturated with oil before lighting. Use your handmade clay lamp under adult supervision only. Oil lamps may set off smoke detectors.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Africa Flip Flop Pollution Problem

Flip flops found littered on beaches and in waterways of Kenya are made into works of African art.


Trash into treasure


Flip flops found littered on beaches and in waterways of Kenya are made in to works of African art
Elephant made from broken flip flops
Flip flops are one of the largest marine pollutants in the Indian Ocean and her beaches. Tons of broken and discarded flip flops wash up on East African coast each year. These flip flops were dumped in cities and villages and are carried away by sewage systems, rivers and other waterways into Kenyan coastlines every year. 

The union of ocean currents at the tip of the Lamu Archipelago drags thousands of flip flops washed away from beaches around the world onto the sea turtle nesting grounds. With driftwood and flip flops littering the beaches, female sea turtles struggle to reach nesting sites and hatchlings, already threatened by a variety of predators that lie between the nest site and the water's edge, often fail to reach the safety of the ocean when faced with piles of debris.

"Over three billion people can only afford flip flops," says Erin Smith of Ocean Sole, "They hang on to them, they fix them, they duct tape them, mend them and then usually discard them." "We are actually receivers of pretty much the world's marine pollution, an immense amount of the pollution that appears on East Africa beaches come from thrown away flip flops from Asia, India and China.”

Environmentally friendly way to dispose of flip-flops


Waterways in Africa are greatly polluted because of flip flops. They are one of the largest marine pollutants along Africas' East coast.Ocean Sole has a team of African artisans in Nairobi Kenya to design sculptures from discarded flip flops into crafty works of art and just as important, a source of income. The African artisans clean the rubber sandals and sort them according to their color. Next, they cut, mold and sand them as they turn the old flip-flops into their eye-catching creations.

Importing flip flops from recycling crews from Kenya including Kibera (Key-bear-a), Kenya’s Largest Slum, broken flip flops are made into animal creations such as the famous 18-foot life-sized giraffe. Artists convert the flip flops into sculptures, jewelry, key rings and other small gifts to sell in local tourist markets and to export around the world. These celebrated upcycled flip flop creations have even made their way into the hands of Pope Francis in 2015.
The waterways in Africa are greatly polluted because of flip flops
Collecting flip flops


According to Ocean Sole, "Thousands and thousands of flip flops are washed up onto the East African coast creating an environmental disaster. Discarded flip flops not only spoil the natural beauty of African beaches and oceans, the rubber soles are swallowed and suffocated on by fish and other marine life. Flip flops also obstruct turtle hatchlings from reaching the sea and are a man-made menace to Africa’s fragile ecosystems."

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

African Proverbs About Trust

African proverbs about trust represent the importance of respect and responsibility in relationships. Trust is the greatest and most important of all human virtues.



African Proverbs About Trust


The tracks of a leopard are not made by a dog  - African Proverb


African Proverbs About Trusting People
One who defames another's character, also defames their own -Nigerian Proverb


When you bite indiscriminately, you end up eating your own tail - Zulu Proverb


People may tell little lies small as a thorn but, they will grow to the size of a spear and kill you -Yoruba Proverb


You will know who you love; you cannot truly know who loves you - Nigerian Proverb


Almost doesn't fill a bowl - African Proverb

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The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb